Domestic Violence in a COVID-19 Context: Exploring Emerging Issues through a Systematic Analysis of the Literature

Maria Pentaraki, Janet Speake

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Extreme events, such as pandemics lead to a rise of domestic violence (DV) and create additional challenges for practice. The social work profession as well as many other professions works with women who have experienced DV and so it is important to be up-to-date with the emerging issues brought about by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The aim of this article is to iden- tify emerging issues related to DV within the context of COVID-19. The ar- ticle presents the results of a systematic literature search and analysis of DV within the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. A systematic search of 10 data bases was conducted. All articles in peer reviewed journals discussing DV in the context of COVID-19 were included. For the articles to be included they had to be written in the English language and to be included in peer reviewed journals between 1 January 2020 to 9 May 2020. Of the 413 articles initially recorded, 12 articles were identified which focused on DV. The analysis of the 12 identified articles offers some useful insights. It suggests that lockdown measures imposed by governments intensify perpetrators’ power over survi- vors’ lives, hence reinforcing gender inequality. Furthermore, it indicates that online provision of support might not be the most effective response in cases of DV and identifies appropriate emergency warning systems. Additionally, the risk of scapegoating COVID-19 for DV is identified. These insights are briefly discussed in relation to practice and policy responses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-211
JournalOpen Journal of Social Sciences,
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2020


  • COVID-19, domestic violence, gender based violence, technological abuse, online

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